Wednesday, January 2, 2013
This year there was no extremely intoxicated man trying to get in the house in the wee hours of the morning. In fact, my day started quite peacefully this time. I stayed up till midnight again with just the older girls to count down the final seconds of 2012, say "Happy New Year!" and hurry to bed. But when I saw the light creeping in around the curtain yesterday, and I realized it really is 2013, I still had a moment -- at least briefly -- of panic.
I know that this year has big changes coming. As a military wife, as a grown-up missionary kid, I feel like it's silly to call an upcoming move a "big change" still. But I do. There's uncertainty about Matt's job, decisions to be made that aren't up to us. There are some dark and heavy clouds hanging over the not-so-distant future. And that's just what I know! If anything the recent weeks have reminded me, it's that I can't take a single day for granted. I see those who have lost someone, or have fought to keep someone, and the fragility of each moment takes my breath away. Somehow, as I get older, New Year's has become a day of trepidation instead of renewal.
I try to make plans for the year, goals I want to achieve, things I want to change about myself. I get distracted by the laughter and silliness of my precious family. But again I face my fears the words I read (again) at the beginning of last year.
"When you feel that familiar panic begin to rise in your heart... with another round of 'What will I do if...?' what would happen if you were willing to hear the voice of God...Child, you are asking the wrong question. Here's the one that would assuage your fears: What will God do if..?" (Beth Moore So Long, Insecurity)
And then the words I read today from Elisabeth Elliot.
"I don't know, when I'm asking for something here on earth, what is going on in the innermost shrine of Heaven (I like to think about it, though). I am sure of one thing: it is good. Because Jesus is there. Jesus loves me. Jesus has gone into that shrine on my behalf. The hope we have is a living hope, an unassailable one."
Yesterday afternoon, I took the kids to the park. It was cold, near freezing, and it was hard to believe that only a few months ago we were basking in warm sunshine in this very place. By the time we left, the sun had already set, and I looked up, in awe once again of how the clouds were turning a lovely rose color against the deepening blue sky. And as I was looking up, I saw the branches of the trees, looking barren and naked, stripped of any remembrance of summer. But -- how extraordinary! -- I noticed the ends of the branches had a very delicate and tiny point at their ends. And as I looked closer, I saw it was true -- the tiniest little buds of leaves here in the dead of winter. Waiting. Getting ready for their ordained moments to push toward the sunshine and freshen the air and paint this brown world green again.
This is what living hope looks like. And with that -- tiny, delicate, almost invisible leaves -- I begin the new year.